Monroe Food Pantry’s pollinator garden’s abuzz with bees, butterflies

A new pollinator garden behind the Monroe Food Pantry is self-sustaining.

MONROE, CT — The Monroe Food Pantry is “buzzing” thanks to the addition of a new pollinator garden. Pollinator gardens are designed to attract bees and other pollinators to sustain flowers and crops providing food for communities, birds and many mammals.

“One time, I gave a client a pair of scissors to cut herself some flowers, but she saw all the butterflies, so she wanted to leave them alone,” said Julie Banks, coordinator of the Monroe Food Pantry.

The garden is the idea of Sylvia Remisiewicz, a Monroe resident who noticed the potential for an unused outdoor space after dropping off donations last spring.

“The space was overgrown with weeds, so I started by contacting the pantry to see if they needed help pulling weeds” Remisiewicz said.

The project grew from there. She posted on Facebook and received donations of seeds and saplings to start the garden. Debbie Donofree assisted Remisiewicz with the pollinator garden.

“I think everyone appreciates it,” Banks said. “It was a really nice project they did for the pantry.”

She said Remisiewicz and Donofree also helped Dave Wang, a volunteer farmer who maintains the vegetable garden at the pantry, by getting hay and weeding.

The pollinator garden includes separate areas for annuals and perennials. Annuals include marigolds, zinnias and sunflowers, which will have their seeds collected and will be replanted next year. Mature Perennials, including little Susie’s and coneflowers, will be transplanted and return each year.

The pollinator garden will be self-sustaining, Remisiewicz said. “We learned this year which flowers and plants attracted the most pollinators and will use those again in the garden next year.”

The pollinator garden is also an important addition to the food pantry garden, complementing the vegetables Wang grows, including squash, peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes that are all donated to the Monroe Food Pantry.

“The garden saves pollinators, helps the environment, and helps with the garden by attracting pollinators for the fruits and vegetables” Remisiewicz said.

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